Month: May 2014

The Reliability Bell Curve

In a recent post about up front spending, quite a few people mentioned their anecdotes about buying a cheap washing machine and having it last for many years – and then used that as a justification to ignore reliability data when making a purchase and instead go for the cheap item. Let’s explore that idea …

Categories: Shopping

Confirmation Bias and Your Money

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been involved in a very interesting discussion with a reader who wanted to know why I thought index funds were such a great investment strategy. I pulled out a huge array of quotes and experts that support my claim. A sampling: Deep down, I remain absolutely confident that the …

Categories: Psychology

Reader Mailbag #62

Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. You might also enjoy the archive of earlier reader mailbags. As usual, we’ll start things off with …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: Stimulated!

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or career book. At almost every job I’ve ever worked at, from a minimum wage service job where I helped people print documents to a full time job in a research lab, creativity and initiative have been rewarded. A person who is a …

If You Live in Central Iowa…

Watch the KCCI (channel 8) evening news tonight (Sunday) at either 5 PM or 10 PM. There’s going to be a story about me, my family, The Simple Dollar, and my book (365 Ways to Live Cheap). I was fairly nervous during the whole thing – I’m not exactly comfortable in front of a camera …

Categories: Uncategorized

Making Financial Literacy More Accessible

A reader that I’ll call “Maggie” writes in with an interesting question: I manage a federal TRiO grant at a community college in Arkansas. If our funding proposal is approved again next year, we are required to include programs on financial literacy, as required by the new Higher Ed Authorization Act. We currently offer a …

Categories: Education

Cutting Down Work-Related Spending

Doing my taxes this year was an interesting experience. In 2008, my income was down substantially as compared to 2007 – no real surprise, considering I quit my full time job in March 2008. What was really surprising for me, though, is that our family’s spending dropped almost as precipitously. Across the board, expenses were …

Categories: Careers

How To Save Money On Food

Today, The Simple Dollar is featuring a guest post by Jerry Kolber. Jerry is an award-winning writer, producer, and executive producer of film and television including Inked and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He is a long-time reader of The Simple Dollar and recently launched a site offering insights into eating great food on …

Categories: Food, Frugality

The Neighborhood Cooperative

Last weekend, our town had a “city wide yard sale.” There was a bit of promotion of this event by the city council and quite a few homes participated (we would have, but unfortunately we hadn’t been at home for several weekends in a row due to my grandmother’s passing and several other family commitments, …

The Stroop Effect and Your Wallet

Let’s try a little psychology experiment. In the image below, read out all of the colors, not the words themselves. You can say them out loud, or in your head. Now, try the same for this batch of colored words. Remember, say the color, not the word itself. It’s at least a bit harder, isn’t …

Categories: Careers, Psychology

Why Would You Choose to Earn Less?

In March 2008, I quit a full time job that earned around $50,000 per year. I did not return to the workplace. My wife’s closest friend has a marketable college degree and a substantial amount of successful organizational experience. She’s made the active choice to be a stay at home mother to her two children, …

Categories: Getting Started

Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance On Just One Page – Download My Personal Finance eBook for Free!

Download it now – for free! A long time ago, I wrote a very popular post entitled “Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance on the Back of Five Business Cards“. After posting it, several people contacted me and suggested that I try to turn it into a book of some sort. …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Shock Doctrine Edition

Over the weekend, I finished an utterly fascinating book that’s (largely) unrelated to The Simple Dollar but still worth mentioning: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. The book is basically an alternative look at world history over the last thirty years, particularly in terms of the collapse of various governments and replacement by new regimes …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Logic of Up-Front Spending

I tend to be an advocate of spending more up front on a large purchase if that purchase will have lower maintenance costs. For example, if I’m buying a car, I’ll spend more on one that has great gas mileage than an equivalent one with poor mileage (which is part of why we bought a …

Personal Finance: Rounding Up Debt Payments

One technique that I’ve always used to make my personal finance management easier is to round up regular debt repayments to the nearest $10 or $100. I do this for two reasons. First, a round number is much easier to handle for simple calculations. With a nice round number, it’s easy to just glance at …

Categories: Debt, Getting Started

My 25 Favorite Personal Finance, Career, and Personal Development Blogs

Collin writes in: What personal finance blogs do you read? You can actually find the answer to this question on any page of The Simple Dollar. If you scroll down a bit, you’ll see a section in the lower right entitled “Blogs I Read.” Under that heading is a list of twenty five blogs that …

Categories: Websites

Reader Mailbag #61

Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. You might also enjoy the archive of earlier reader mailbags. As usual, we’ll start things off with …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Review: The Cure for Money Madness

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. One of the real root causes of money troubles is irrational behavior. When money is involved, people act in ways that undermine their best interest. They buy when the market is high, sell when the market is low, lie to the people they care …

Categories: What We're Reading

A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Deal-Finding Homepage

I love keeping an eye out for bargains. I’m the type of person who will come up with Christmas present ideas for people in March and spend nine months sitting on that idea, waiting for the right price to come along. I won’t hesitate in the least to jump on obviously exceptional bargains in areas …

Categories: Shopping, Websites